This past week I went to my first soccer game and we got a new president. (Woah. It was kind of a lot). The soccer game (Rome versus Bologna) was a lot of fun and really cool! The game was held in the old olympic stadium; there were very cool mosaics on the ground of various olympic events. We had awesome seats and while I know next to nothing about soccer, I was sitting next to some very knowledgable friends who didn’t mind me asking a lot of questions. (Rule #1 of going to a sporting event of which you know nothing about: Go with someone who knows everything about said sport and don’t be afraid to ask them questions!) Our team (Roma obviously!) won by a 3-0 shut out and it was an incredible experience to be there with all of those fans, singing their songs and chanting with them. (Also, the Roma scarves we got resemble the Gryffindor scarves from Harry Potter so that was a definite plus.)
Then, the rest of the week was shrouded by a cloud, a weird, “I’m not too sure how to talk about this, but all Italians keep asking me about this,” sensitive, unpredictable, election cloud. Everywhere I went people mentioned the election to me, and all of my Temple Rome colleagues were excited (in a way), nervous, and overall stressed about the turnout. It’s no secret that this election cycle has been gritty, dirty, and particularly whirlwind-ish. There are people in our program who were rooting for one candidate and people who were rooting for the other; it was tense. When Wednesday emerged and we had a new president, there were mixed feelings and no one really knew what to make of the outcome.
In my political science class with professor Bordignon, we had the opportunity to go to a discussion/debate on the impacts of a Trump presidency on the US’ relations with Europe, specifically the EU. We got to hear the vice-president and one of the former vice-presidents of the EU speak. We also got to hear various ambassadors (Italian and American) of the US for Europe and vice-versa give their take on what they believe the outcome of this presidency will mean for them. There were speakers that were liasons, members of the EU parliament, and journalists from the Associated Press. It was really interesting to get the European prospective, especially since the US has had such a close relationship with the EU beforehand. While we were a bit underdressed and unprepared, we were stationed to watch in the overflow room with the refreshments and the press. So, naturally, we had our pictures taken and were interviewed by Italian news personnel and journalists. It was fun getting to give our point of view to the people who asked and who were surrounding us, and we even ended up on Italian news for a couple seconds! We also got to keep our badges which was very awesome.
Overall, it was a crazy rollercoaster of a week. I spent it elated, worried, stressed, and then happy again. Lather, rinse, repeat. But my main take away was the invaluable experience of being a part of things that exist at home, but have an impact or are treated differently abroad.